DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

Waxing lyrical about life the universe and everything software related since lunchtime 2006.
This tag contains 5 private blog which isn't listed here.

Nautilus: Dolphin to JomSocial migration script - Latest progress.

After restarting work on the migration script a few weeks back I have made great progress on getting it finished. I have gone through a few revisions and am now on version 0.10. The bugs are slowly getting addressed and the end is nearing.

The current version 0.10 is still in progress. I'm currently working on migrating the group forum posts into the discussion section of each group, but this is proving to be harder than originally anticipated. Still to go before I release the next version are to migrate articles, navigation structure and IBDW Spywall entries. I finally decided to migrate Spywall posts as the user profile pages look very bare. Plus the transition from old to new will be a lot smoother for members.

One major change is that I decided to flip the way that the migration is carried out. Originally I opted to install JomSocial and copy the Boonex files into a sub directory. However, after some thought I decided that it would be better to do the opposite. Now the migration is carried out by installing JomSocial into a sub directory. This means that you can get the whole migration up and running before going live. It also allows you to easily retain or switch between both sites by using htaccess rules.

The other major change is to move away from the corePHP Wordpress plugin and use EasyBlog. EasyBlog is much more user friendly and comparable with Wordpress on a basic level. OK so it doesn't have the plethora of plugins available to Wordpress, but on a community site this is probably a good thing. I do Have one JomSocial site that uses the corePHP Wordpress plugin, and whilst it works well, it is generally too complex for most users to get their heads around. If anyone really wants / needs a specific blogging platform I would be happy to write a custom script, although I would not do this for free.

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Beta Migrator now available for testing

Good news for all those waiting for migrate to JomSocial, you can now download a beta version for testing.

Instructions are included in the file simply view the source code.

IMPORTANT - MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS !!

Please note that this is a beta, and still has a few issues. Also not all modules are migrated.

The following have been tested and are working

Users
Profiles
Avatars
Friends
Photos
Videos
Forums
Events

Support is also included for Modzzz Points totals

Still to finish are...

Blogs
Sites
Groups
Other Content

Known issues are as follows...

Video migration throws error message for embedded videos
Events avatar migration throws error message when moving files
Forum migration needs to be updated for latest version - it's partially working (was working okay on 1.6)
No doubt there are other issues too.

Please, please, please, report back your findings HERE so that I can improve this and hone out the issues for RC1.

There is still a way to go, but things are moving in the right direction.

Download nautilus version 0.7 (updated 21.09.11)

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First steps

If you are one of those visitors who is expectantly waiting for the release of the Dolphin to Joomla migration script, you will be happy to know that things are moving along nicely and the script will be released before the end of the month. In preparation for this imminent release I have started to prepare the documentation for the installation, including the scope of operation and the requirements for getting it up and running.

The documentation will be provided in a series of articles in the tutorials section which will walk you through the whole process in a step by step manner. It will also cover the setting up of Joomla and Jomsocial, as well as providing installation help for the required third party modules.

The first of these articles is now available to view and is an introduction that covers what you can expect from the migration. To view the article visit...

http://www.deeemm.com/resources/tutorials/60-dolphin-to-joomla-migration.html

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Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day

It's very nearly here. The Dolphin 'Fish Script' to JomSocial migration script is just around the corner.

To continue on with the theme so affectionately adopted by Boonex, I have decided to give the script a nautical name. So with respect to Jules Vernes Twenty thousand leagues under the sea I have named it the Nautilus.

For those of you who have been patiently awaiting me to pull my finger out and get the script written, you will be happy to learn that I only have a few more tables to migrate and it will be finished (after testing of course).

So, just to raise the tension a little, and build the anticipation (in the best Boonex style - LOL)

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iJoomer JomSocial iPhone app trumps Dolphin oo

Whilst surfing the other day I stumbled across iJoomer an iPhone that connects to the joomla platform. Being a recent iPhone convert, and an avocate for Joomla / JomSocial I decided to check it out.

To work with your site, there is both a plugin to install and also a small code modification that needs to be made to two files. The code mod is relatively straightforward, and just involves adding a line of code to each file. With the plugin installed, and the mod done, you can test the application out by downloading it from the app store. Simply search for iJoomer.

Out of the box, the app is configured to connect to the iJoomer demo site. You can easily join the site and test out it's abilities all from the app. I initially did this, whilst checking what was happening on the site from my laptop browser before installing it on my own site. To connect to your own site simply choose settings from the log in screen and add the url of your site.

First impressions are that the app is very well thought out, and much more intuitive and functional than it's nearest rival, the 'oo' app offered by Boonex. The biggest difference between the two apps, is that the iJoomer app reports all wall activity, and with the latest JomSocial update, this even includes comments and 'likes'. It is also possible to add comments or like wall posts right from within the app itself. This is one massive failing of the Dolphin platform, decent wall functionality has to be added as a third party application, and so there is no support for it from within the iPhone app, but even so, the Boonex version does not even report the basic wall stream that is included by default, an epic fail in my opinion. Especially when you consider that it is this activity stream that has become the cornerstone for all social sites.

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Dolphin to Joomla (JomSocial) migration

It's been a while since I've finished the Geeklog to Joomla (JomSocial) migration, and with a new update released by Boonex, I've decided that it is about time to look at migrating my sites away from the Dolphin platform.

With even a mildly modified site, Dolphin updates are usually a nightmare. It is rare that something does not break, or mess up in some manner, so I've decided that instead of wasting time updating third party addons to work with the new Dolphin core, it is much more cost and time effective to write a migration script.

The target platform will be Joomla, running the JomSocial component. This is a comparative product for those who are using Dolphin as a community site, and pretty much, all standard modules have an equivalent Joomla component.

At the moment the project is at the drawing board stage, but the basic outline is complete.

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JomSocial v's Dolphin

A current project that I am looking in to is an update for an existing community site that I run. The site is based on the Geeklog platform and is a typical community site with forums, photo galleries, blogs etc. The problem that I have found with Geeklog, is that the plugins are not really actively maintained. Geeklog used to have a very active community, but a period of stagnation saw many of the contributors leave for other platforms.

I have updated the site a few times in the past, and each time I have ended up having to re-write the integration scripts for things such as the gallery, to be able to update them to the latest versions.

So a recent discussion with the other guys involved in the site has spurned me to take a look into alternatives.

Joomla has always been a candidate for migration, it's perfectly suited to running a site migrated from Geeklog, and has enough pugins already available to the community to be able to replicate our existing featureset. The only real problem, is that there are no migration tools, so this will have to be a custom migration job. Not really an issue, just a little more work.

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Time Out

After 6 months of Dolphin development, I have decided that it is log overdue, to take some time out. The change in bias for the site from personal tech Blog to business site, alongside the change in business direction has proven to be a lot less profitable than anticipated.

The focus on Dolphin as a platform for which to develop was seen as a potential with high returns, and so some effort was spent in writing up some simple mods and providing support and development work for it's users. The idea was to test the water and see how the market lay. The reality is that the active userbase is relatively small, as are the returns.

The effort taken to write up even relatively simple mods, is a fairly big undertaking. Testing is required to ensure that mods function correctly, database scripts need to be written to add in additional database fields, and with every update, each mod needs to be tested and updated again. All of this amounted in an inordinate amount of time being required for developing, and maintaining a suite of mods.

The reality is that even with a selection of mods available, there is simply not enough of a turnover to be able to earn a living from, plus there seems to be a massive underground movement in ripping off mods - more so than with any other community that I have been involved with. People rip off your work, and pass it out like it is their right to do so. For someone trying to make a living this sucks.

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Dolphin - Flat comments mod updated

I've just updated the mod that converts all threaded comments into flat style comments. The original mod had an issue with the wall posts where it hid the reply button. This issue is now resolved. The mod can be downloaded from either the store here - or the Boonex marketplace.

There are also a few new Dolphin tutorials in the resources section:

  • How to add a youtube button to TinyMCE
  • How to remove / edit the Join button on the promo banner
  • How to remove the checkboxes fron the keyword search page
  • How to increase the size fo the test in the comments box
These are simply recent posts that I've replied to over at the unity forums, but seeing as the search over there is non-functional, I've decided to also post them here. Don't forget to check back often, as I will add to these when I get time.
 
/DM
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Dolphin Maintenance Tools Module

We have just released a free module that allows you to easily enable / disable your website. This is a great help for performing maintenance tasks such as adding modifications or backing up.

The module is easily installed within the standard Dolphin module structure, and requires a small modification to one file to be able to utilise.

The module provides an easy place to edit a maintenance page that will be displayed in the browser to visitors when the site is disabled.

There are future plans to add additional features to the basic module, so if you have an idea for s setting that you feel should be included, just let me know.

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Boonex Dolphin Security Vulnerability

It seems like this week is a bit of a strange one so far. Not only is it National Cyber Security Awareness Week here in Australia, but first the Boonex site suffered a massive DDOS attack and then my own dolphin site suffered a similar fate. I believe that the two events are probably coincidental, as the attack on my site was not particularly well formed, and was easily defeated - most likely just some kiddie with a script. I managed to get the service that the attack was coming from terminated due to a violation of the providers TOS - they're probably in big trouble with mom and dad now. The attack on the Boonex site continued over the weekend, and there are still some services out of action.

I believe that the main source of the attack on my site was to take advantage of the exploit recently published on Boonex's site, and reported about here on DeeEmm.com in an earlier news article - http://www.deeemm.com/news/154-dolphin-7-security-vulnerability-exposed.html Whilst the noise about this issue seems to have been muted a little, after the attack on my site I am pretty convinced that the solution given by Boonex is no solution at all.

The main crux of the problem was claimed to be the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING or DB_FULL_DEBUG_MODE settings, which caused the debug backtrace to be echoed directly to the browser in the event of a fault. Boonex's comments were simply that these were disabled by default and so the issue was a non-issue. This glaring oversight caused an obvious embarrassment to those who made the claims that the issue was with the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING setting, this then caused them to promptly back off a little.

Whilst Boonex's solution has seemingly pacified the masses, it does not address the initial issue - that the debug back-trace is getting echoed to the browser in some error situations. The fact is that the issue has been reported by many, and until now no one had been sure of a definite cause, unfortunately the DB_FULL_VISUAL_PROCESSING setting was little more than a red herring, and whilst easily dismissed by Boonex, their solution does not actually fix the issue.

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Dolphin Orca Update

The Dolphin forum, or Orca, as it is known, was a parallel stand alone development that was integrated as a module into the Dolphin 7 release. This module is a massive improvement over the previous integration in Dolphin 6, and has provided an easier opportunity to improve it.

Many Dolphin users are unhappy with the features supplied with the standard forum module, often opting to replace it with other forums such as phpBB or IPB. This has mixed success, as often the integrations are simply iframe hacks, or miss out important aspects such as avatars or messaging. This is where Orca is already a step ahead. The integration is already completed, it is a core part of the Dolphin product, and so already has all of the needed variables and data available to it, to use in improving its features.

We have been working on an update to Orca, to add in the missing features that many complain about, these are usability features for both users and administrators alike, as well as the creation of a set of moderation tools.

The project is in it's very early stages, and only in Alpha release, but as it's based on a functional product, we already have a demo set up. This will be updated as the project progresses.

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Free Mods Released

It's been a very busy week here in the software office. Hot on the heels of the recent Flat Comments and Group Forum Posts Block mods, we have a further three - yes that's THREE!! new mods available in the store, plus a re-released oldie.

Whats more, three of the mods are free!

The first mod is a re-release of our Login redirect mod for Dolphin 6. Whilst this has been available for download over at Boonex.com, for some reason it was omitted from the store, so we added it in. You can download it HERE

Next up is Auto Friend on Join. This is another Dolphin 6 mod that has been updated to work with Dolphin 7. The Mod automatically adds a friend to the joining members profile - a bit like Tom on myspace. This mod differs a little as it will add select the friend it adds based on the gender of the joining member. It can be set  to add either a friend of the same sex, or opposite sex. Get it HERE

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2 New Dolphin MODs Released

Just released two new mods for the Boonex Dolphin platform.

The first mod is a Dolphin 6 mod that changes the standard threaded comments layout to a normal flat comment structure. All existing comments are changed to the new layout, as will all new comments.

The second modification is a Dolphin 7 MOD that creates a custom block for the groups home / view page that aggregates the groups forum posts.  This increases the usefulness of the groups home page by providing all information in one place.

As a bonus, we have also included an additional mod that will show you how to add a block anywhere on your site to aggregate ALL group forum posts into one block.

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New Communities

It's been a little while since I've posted anything here, my time has been taken up with other projects which has left me with very little time to work on the CMS or update the site. You would probably have noticed that the proposed version 8 is currently on hold (see DMCMS news), this is likely to stay like this for the foreseeable future, I simply have too much work on a present which means something has to give. There have been a few minor updates to the DMCMS release whch will be combined into the next release - Version 1 !!!!

The code has been in regular use on many sites now and has proven to work reliably enough to wear the Version 1 badge. This means that the whole thing will be repackaged and supplied slightly differently from previous releases. The database layout will be the same but the table prefix will be shortened. there will be a conversion script for the previous versions database but it is reccomended to simply reinstall the software. For this reason there will be no update path from the current version to Version 1.

The new version will hopefully be up within the coming weeks.

One of the other project's I have been working on is a social networking site, this is still in it's early development stages but is up and running and utilising a social networking product called Dolphin. Dolphin is a PHP / SQL  and AJAX powered site that was initially designed to power dating sites. Dolphin has progressed in recent years and now can be modified quite easily to work with any type of social networking site. The dating specific features can be disabled or modified to be more suitable to the sites content. I may post more about Dolphin over the course of the project so if you're a dolphin user or need some help with your Dolphin site be sure to check back.

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